Thu 27 Aug 20
Fulfilment and distribution specialists, The Finishing Line are the latest company to join forces with Essex to secure Innovate UK funding for a Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The project will review a range of processes within the company to maximise overall efficiency.
The Finishing Line has been providing rapid, first class fulfilment, storage and logistics solutions for over 33 years with a focus on fulfilment and distribution of print publications. Due to the changing landscape of the print industry, the business has recognised the demand for a fully-fledged e-commerce strategy and has won support from Innovate UK to drive ahead with this new strategy in partnership with the University and Essex Business School.
Management KTPs are being financed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). A full-time Project Manager (KTP Associate) will be recruited and based at The Finishing Line and will be working with the business to achieve the goal of driving diversification into the e-commerce domain to boost revenues. This will involve applying advanced management theory to assess company culture, change readiness and developing sophisticated strategies for accessing new markets via an e-commerce platform.
The three main areas this project will focus on are: Innovation – which will include automating warehouse operations and positioning themselves at the forefront of emerging online shopping channels. People – upskilling staff, identifying the skills needed to innovate and the strategy to reinforce a great working culture, and Places – looking at up-scaling and ultimately unifying operations in a larger space.This project is a great example of the diverse nature of Management KTPs - which aim to transform a business’s productivity across multiple business functions in order to enable growth. Ultimately it will boost company productivity to new levels and increase commercial impact.
The Finishing Line Managing Director Andy Mead said: “Since the business was formed in 1987, The Finishing Line has established a first-class reputation for service and innovation. I am immensely proud of the team we have and the results we achieve for our customers, but we also have a passion for growth. We recognise that to achieve growth we all constantly have to move from our comfort zones and I can think of no better partner than the University of Essex to give us the confidence to do that. I would like to thank the team at Innovate UK and our new colleagues at Essex for the faith they have shown in The Finishing Line following what was a very robust application process.”
As part of the KTP, Essex will connect the business with two academics from Essex Business School, leading management science and entrepreneurship specialist Professor Matthew Allen and his colleague Dr Shabneez Bhankaraully.
They will lead on the project’s direction and implementation. Both academics have expertise in institutional analysis and its effect on innovation, national business systems, employment relations, organisational culture, change management and business strategy. This is strongly aligned with The Finishing Line’s objectives.
Professor Allen has previously specialised in organisational studies, he has also published his research findings in leading international journals. He said: “Shabneez and I are delighted to be working with The Finishing Line on a prestigious Management KTP. Our exciting project with them will draw on the latest management thinking to enable The Finishing Line to enhance its innovative capabilities, transform employees’ skills, increase productivity and drive sales. We are proud to be demonstrating Essex Business School’s commitment to helping businesses improve their performance in a sustainable way. We are especially pleased to be working with a local company to have a positive impact on the regional economy.”
Rob Walker, Head of Business Engagement at the University of Essex, said: “Innovate UK’s Management KTP programme, funded by BEIS, offers a significant opportunity for established yet ambitious SMEs to inject expertise from our Essex Business School into their strategy and roadmap for growth and increased productivity. The Finishing Line is a perfect example of the type of company this funding is targeted at: offering a long-established, leading service in fulfilment and logistics but with ambitions to take their business to the next level through diversification. Professor Allen and his team offer rich expertise in the areas required to make this a reality and I am excited to see the impact this Management KTP can have on the business”
KTPs are Innovate UK’s flagship programme for collaboration. They connect businesses and social enterprises across the UK with expertise, cutting-edge technology and research in our universities and link them up with ambitious graduate talent. Essex is proud to be Top Two in the UK for number of KTP’s and excited to be adding another Management KTP to the growing portfolio of successful collaborations.